“I am glad I ran into you, Tom,” says Fr. Leonhardt. “I was just talking on the phone with Susan. She always mentions your theology class as one of the best she took. Susan asked the Jesuits to pray for her youngest daughter, who is a freshman in college in Minnesota. She is homesick and finding the adjustment very difficult. Besides putting a note on our Prayer Request Board, I told Susan I would mention her request especially to you.”
Fr. Caldwell smiles. “Happy to pray for her, Doug,” he says. “I’ll give Susan a call.”
FUNDING AND FLEXIBILITY
The Jesuit mission is to serve where there is a need. So, when the historically high number of senior Jesuits needed more space for assisted living, the province funded the expansion of the St. Camillus senior Jesuit community.
The Midwest Jesuits decided to use $25 million from the Aged and Infirm Fund and leased the building from the St. Camillus healthcare campus. The province opted to pre-fund the lease, which means that instead of monthly payments that would have carried interest, the province paid the bill all at once. This enables the province to save approxi-mately $1.9 million per year on lease costs.
This move was in response to the consid-erable number of senior Jesuits, as well as a move to secure the healthcare needs for all Midwest Jesuits — including those in formation — for the long-term future. The Jesuits can lease additional living units on the St. Camillus healthcare campus if they need more space, and they can also sell unused units back to St. Camillus so that the units are not empty.MAKE A GIFT
“Jesuits never truly retire and prayer is an integral part of their lives,” says Fr. Brian Paulson, SJ, provincial of the Midwest Province. “So, when a Jesuit reaches the age where he requires living assistance, he receives a special mission to pray for the Church and Society.”
To pray for the Church and Society means that a Jesuit’s primary focus is to ask God for the success of their fellow Jesuits and the People of God, including those who submit prayer requests. Fr. Caldwell and nearly 100 fellow Jesuits perform this role at one of the two senior Jesuit assisted living communities in the Midwest Province.
“In my experience, the men take their mission to pray very seriously,” says Fr. Robert Wild, SJ. “It does not mean that they are praying all the time but it does mean that they are serious about this dimension of their lives. They remain outward looking so that they are not just fretting about their own health situation but instead they continue to have that larger vision as Jesuits.”
Fr. Wild is the Honorary Co-Chair of With Others. For Others. — an essential campaign to raise $25 million needed for senior Jesuit healthcare. The name With Others. For Others. is meant as an invitation to financially support Jesuit priests and brothers who have devoted their lives to serving others and the greatest needs.“These men are living longer and, with that, comes increased healthcare needs,” says Fr. Paulson. “There is a significant population of Jesuits in their 70s, 80s, and 90s. Here in the Midwest we project that we will need both the Colombiere Center in Michigan as well as St. Camillus in Milwaukee for the next 15-20 years. They will both be full or close to full.”
"SUPPORTING THE CAMPAIGN IS ONE OF THE BEST WAYS PEOPLE CAN SAY THANK YOU TO THESE JESUITS WHO HAVE SPENT THEIR LIVES IN SERVICE.”
– Fr. Doug Leonhardt, SJ
Now, the fund needs to be replenished to maintain the healthcare and living expenses for the senior Jesuits and the province is asking those who have been positively impacted by the Jesuits for their support. Generous donations from benefactors are both essential and appreciated.
Living in community with other Jesuits is a fundamental aspect of that Jesuit service, which is why Fr. Wild says, “We do not want these to be healthcare facilities that have Jesuits, but Jesuit communities that provide healthcare.” Moving to an assisted living community can be challenging for many people and the same is true for Jesuits. Sharing that journey with their fellow Jesuits can help them adjust to their new mission in life.
“I think the transition can be difficult because they move from communities they maybe have belonged to for a long time,” Fr. Leonhardt says. “I think once they get here and into the rhythm of things they see that this is a privileged time in their life. They join their classmates with whom they’ve learned and served. It’s just wonderful to know there are companions here for them.”
Theresa Kult, the Coordinator of Healthcare for the Omaha and St. Paul region of the Midwest Province has witnessed the importance of the senior Jesuit communities. She says, “There’s a renewed energy in them. They have this shared journey as Jesuits their whole lives — men who have been really committed and have managed the struggles of religious life. They can reassure one another and that is very important.”
In addition to supporting each other, the Jesuits still work to positively impact the world. Brother James Small, SJ, continues his hobby of painting beautiful portraits and scenes that he happily donates to Loyola Academy for scholarship fundraising.
Like Br. Small, the Jesuits each enjoy their own hobbies. They play shuffleboard, read books, and write letters to old friends and family. Their mission to serve the world through prayer, however, remains their primary focus.
“We don’t have a feeling that we’re coming to the end because we never come to the end as a Jesuit,” says Fr. Theodore Ross, SJ. “We just keep going and working and praying. We are still Jesuits active in what we are doing — whatever that might be.”
As men for others, the Jesuits spend their lives serving the world. Now, to meet the needs of the senior Jesuits, the province needs your prayers and financial support. Prayers can be requested at JesuitPrayer.org and donations can be made online at JesuitsMidwest.org/SupportUs or by calling the USA Midwest Province Advancement Office.
For More Information
Call the USA Midwest Province Advancement Office at (800) 537-3736
Send Checks and Inquiries to
PO Box 6713
Carol Stream IL 60197-6713